Today I would like to write a review of Ouino French which is one of the software resources I have utilized to learn French. Ouino French is advertised as “The all in one solution to learn French fast.” The software is made up of five different modules, each of which can be purchased separately or as a complete package. The complete package is listed at $139 for the download version, however for as long as I have known of the software, it is shown as being “on sale” for $119 at their web site, Ouino French.
The individual modules cover primary elements that one might expect when learning a language:
- Pronunciation – Allows the student to listen to a native French speaking and then record themselves repeating the same words and phrases for comparison to the original.
- Conversation – Are lessons built around a “real world” conversation. This is the module that gives the student the opportunity to apply what is learned in a structured conversational setting.
- Grammar – Are lessons covering sentence structure.
- Vocabulary – As the title implies is really the starting point of learning any language, the individual pieces of vocabulary that are used to build the greater whole
- Verbs – This module focuses strictly on verbs. Verbs being one of the most significant and complex areas of the French language. All conjugations and tenses are covered for the most common and essential French verbs.
Ouino French touts itself as being unique because it allows the student create their own training plan so to speak. In other words the student may choose which module to work with at any given time, and chose the specific lesson within that module. There is an order to lessons as they are presented, however they make it easy for the student to skip around. While it is nice to be able to focus on specific areas, I also found that the lack of a well structured path makes it difficult to maintain a balanced education in the language. There is a tendency to spend more time in the areas which are fun and avoid those areas that tend to be a little more difficult.
The general format of the lessons within Ouino French follow the pattern of a page or two of new material followed by a short section of exercises and/or games. The exercises involve activities such as matching, writing, and listening. At the end of each lesson, the student then has the opportunity to grade themselves on how well they know this particular topic. It’s a nice feature to keep track of where you have been.
The module for verbs is what I consider the strength of Ouino French. This is due to the number of verbs covered, and they are each covered completely. French verbs have many more possibilities than English, as mentioned before it is likely the most critical area of the French language. The fact that an entire module is dedicated to the topic shows that Ouino understands this importance.
My overall impression of this software, is that it makes for a good reference resource, however it falls well short of the complete solution. There is a lot of content here, however the coverage is rather shallow. For example, in the verb lessons the student is presented with a new verb. One page is dedicated to the verb conjugated in the present tense, and second page in the past tense. The student then goes through some exercises, then it’s time for the next lesson, which cover conjugations in other tenses.
Compared to other software, there is not enough presented for the student to learn the material at a deep level, and very little practice using what has been learned. It is one thing to learn new vocabulary, but unless that new vocabulary is practiced over and over again, it tends to fade away. This is a challenge with most any personal learning approach. I will say that Ouino does repeat a lot of the vocabulary throughout the lessons, however I feel it would all be more effective if they really drilled it home the first time around. For me as an individual, that’s the way I tend to learn best.
My conclusion; Ouino French can provide a very good reference resource to keep in the tool box. As a complete solution, it falls a little short.
Thanks for reading.